Secret hospitals that offer criminals to change their personal description

Secret hospitals that offer criminals to change their personal description

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Clandestine hospitals in the Philippines are offering plastic surgery services to fugitives and scam call center operators to help them avoid arrest, authorities say.

Two such illegal hospitals could be closed “in the coming weeks” after a police raid on one of them, in the southern suburbs of Manila, a police spokesman told the BBC.

Hair transplant tools, dental implants and intravenous skin bleaching drops were seized from a hospital in Pasay City two months ago.

“You can make a whole new person out of it,” said Winston John Casio, a spokesman for the President’s Commission on Organized Crime.

The two illegal hospitals under surveillance are believed to be four times the size of the one in Pasay, authorities said.

Among the clients are allegedly those from online casinos, which operate illegally in the Philippines, Casio added.

Online casinos or Pogs (Philippines Online Gaming Operators – Philippine Online Gaming Operations) provide services to players in mainland China, where gambling is illegal.

But the police say it is Pogs served as a cover for criminal activities such as phone scams and human trafficking.

In the raid in Pasay, three doctors were arrested, two from Vietnam and one from China, as well as a Chinese pharmacist and a Vietnamese nurse, none of whom had a permit to work in the Philippines.

A hemodialysis machine was also found, which indicates that the facility, of about 400 square meters, offered various medical treatments in addition to plastic surgery.

“They look like regular clinics from the outside, but when you walk in, you’re shocked at the kind of technology they have,” Casio said.

“These Pogos hospitals don’t ask for valid IDs, you can be a fugitive or a foreigner in the Philippines staying here illegally,” he added.

It was reported to the authorities that there are illegal hospitals in the city of Pasay City.

The Pogos business flourished under the rule of former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who tried to forge friendly ties with China during his six-year term ending in 2022.

However, his successor, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., set out to break up these firms, citing their ties to crime.

“The president does not want the Philippines to be characterized as a ‘fraud hub’ and he has given us a directive to go after them since they have been targeting a large number of people from around the world,” Casio said.

In December 2022, immigration officials arrested a suspected member of the Chinese mafia who allegedly underwent plastic surgery to avoid detection.

Such cases may be linked to clandestine hospitals, Casio said.

The mayor of a sleepy town north of the capital, Alice Guo, recently came under fire when a fraudulent Pogo center discovered near her office.

She was also accused of spying for China after authorities analyzed data from her birth certificate.

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